My sister asked me a very good question the other day – ” If God knows how and when a person will die why should we pray for them to recover from an illness if they are going to die anyway?” The short answer I presented was that God commands us to pray for the sick. After all He may know when a person is going to die – we don’t! We went on to discuss if this situation was in contradiction to the argument outlined in the previous blog (see Myth Busters). If it’s Gods’ will that someone is going to die then our praying for their healing is useless. Isn’t it?
If only it was that easy a thing. God’s not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9b KJV and even though He clearly knows all and sees all it can not be assumed that every human death (or suffering for that matter) is ordained by Him. There are so many reasons we have trouble in this life. Sickness, disease, accidents, acts of violence are only a few things that happen all around us.Simply because we are powerless to stop something doesn’t mean it an “act of God!” Jesus warned us – “I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Living Bible
So, what about praying for someone you love who is suffering with a terrible sickness? James gives an example of what to do – Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. James 5:14-15 KJV Paul puts it very simply in his letter to the church – Pray without ceasing. 1Thess 5:17 KJV Jesus is our example Who we see praying always.
I saw a sign years ago that read – Live each day as if it’s outcome depends on you and pray each day as if it all depends on God. At face value this may seem contradictory and maybe somewhat egocentric. But we are expected to be a good steward of the gifts that God has given us, which I believe includes our bodies, mind and spirit as much as our gifts and possessions. Yet, Jesus told us that without Him we can do nothing. John 15:5 KJV So, we pray. Pray and then pray some more and afterwards, pray some more. We do not know what God will do with the prays that He hears from you. But I am sure of this – He will hear you and He will be proud of you for bringing this situation to Him. The Bible is full of examples of how we are powerless without God as well as examples of how prayer has changed events. But if you do or do not get the answer or result you prayed for that does not mean God doesn’t hear you. We will live and die by the Faith we have (or lack thereof) in Him.
For God is not the author of confusion 1Cor 14:33 KJV This is why I steer clear of confusion caused by controversy and the landmines of arguments about God and Heaven and the Bible by asking myself one simple question. “Does my Salvation depend on this?” If the answer is a firm “NO!” i move on. Are my pets going to heaven? How old will I be in Heaven? Where will I live in Heaven? Will I need to sleep in Heaven? I do not know the answer to any of these questions and am not concerned with finding the answers either. Rather, I am more concerned with making sure I GET TO HEAVEN ! Once there all those questions will be answered. Now, if a controversy or the confusion about something in the Bible or my walk threatens my relationship with God and my possible goal of reaching heaven I need to keep it simple and decide if I am going to trust Jesus or turn away.
When faced with unanswered prayers and disappointment we are at a crossroad in our walk with Jesus – Trust in Him and live or doubt Him and die.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life Deut 30:19KJV